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Rendell cans Pa. Pike Chairman Rubin

Gov. Rendell this morning removed Mitchell Rubin from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, saying it was "inappropriate" for him to remain at the agency in light of his role in the corruption allegations highlighted by last week's conviction of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo.

Last Monday, a jury convicted Rubin's wife, Ruth Arnao, of federal corruption charges alongside Fumo, her onetime boss. Three days later, federal authorities handed Rubin a "target letter" notifying him that he is the focus of a probe some believe is mopping up after the Fumo case.

On Saturday, Rubin notified that governor that he was taking an immediate and indefinite unpaid leave from the commission to deal with unspecified personal matters.

In their case against Fumo, prosecutors successfully argued that Fumo had paid Rubin $150,000 in taxpayer money from 1990 to 2004 for contracted consulting work though Rubin never performed any state duties.

The Senate was unable to come up with a single example of written work produced by Rubin, and prosecutors argued that Fumo had canceled the contract after realizing he was under investigation.

"Under these circumstances and others it is inappropriate for you to remain as a commission," Rendell wrote in a letter to Rubin this morning.

Rendell told reporters last week that he was reviewing the trial transcript and consulting with his top lawyers to determine whether he should remove Rubin.

Chuck Ardo, Rendell's spokesman, said the governor was expected to make an announcement soon about Rubin's replacement.

Governors appoint turnpike commissioners, subject to Senate confirmation.

Rubin, 57, of Philadelphia, has served on the commission for 11 years, the last six as chairman.
Commission Vice Chairman Tim Carson will assume some of the chairman's duties, a turnpike spokesman said.

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